Ecoteam Blog

Ecoteam works with communities to improve sustainability.

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Jubullum Village Sewage Management System: Part 1

Ecoteam manages the water resources at Jubullum Village, including the Drinking Water and Wastewater. This blog explains how wastewater treatment occurs and the Sewage Management processes involved. Part 1 of the blog (this blog) explains the primary treatment process for the sewage (from household to removal of solids). Part 2 of the blog (published here) – explains the secondary treatment process (treatment in constructed wetlands and irrigation onto an orchard).

Sewage water is often referred to as ‘Wastewater’. At Ecoteam we like to refer to it as Resource Water because once it is treated it can then be reused for irrigation. Reusing treated sewage water for irrigation helps to ease pressure on our finite Drinking Water Resources.

Derek Torrens, a well-respected indigenous community member, is part of Ecoteam and manages the operation and maintenance of the water resources for the village.

Jubullum Village consists of approx. 50 homes with a population of about 200 residents and is situated west of the township of Tabulam in Northern NSW at 28°53’38.71’’S 152°31’42.37’’E.

The Treatment Train

Septic tanks

Each house has a septic tank, the resource water flows from all household drains and toilets into the septic tank. A septic tank is a primary treatment vessel that removes solids (which sink to the bottom) and oils and grease (which float to the top) from the household resource water.

Septic tank - sewage management system

Septic tank

Collection mains and effluent sump

The water then flows in to the collection mains along the piping to an effluent sump that is located at the bottom of the village. The effluent sump is located at the lowest point to allow gravity to move the water to the sump, eliminating the need for pumps.

wastewater collection mains - sewage management system

Wastewater Collection Mains

In the effluent sump there are two submersible pumps (the only 2 pumps in the entire system) that are controlled by floating switches. As the well fills, the floats rise until vertical, once vertical the float switch closes the electrical circuit and switches the pumps on. As the water in the well drops from pumping, the float switch floats down with the water and opens the electrical circuit which turns the pump off.

Effluent sump and float controls in pump well - sewage management system

Float switches in pump well. (Note: Float Switch in blue).


Grit channel and sedimentation basin

The resource water is pumped from the effluent sump out to the back (south) of the village where it flows into a grit channel and then into a sedimentation basin.

Grit Channel before sewage goes into Sedimentation Pond - sewage management system

The grit channel and the sedimentation basin help to remove any solids that may be left in the resource water.

Oxidation Pond

The water then flows by gravity into an oxidation pond; the pond is long and skinny to reduce short circuiting of the flow of water. The pond is shaped like a horseshoe and the water must proceed from the entry point up the skinny channels and then flows into an outlet weir and then into a splitter box which splits the flow evenly to 2 manifolds which feed the 2 constructed wetlands.

Jubullum Oxidation pond - sewage management system

It doesn’t stop here – here’s the link to Part 2. Keep reading to find out the final treatment processes for the Jubullum Village Sewage Management System.

By Aaron Taylor, Ecoteam.

For more information please contact Aaron Taylor our Senior Operations Manager (Water and Sewerage) here at Ecoteam. You can call the office on (02) 6621 5123 or email if you have any questions for Aaron.

If you need help or advice on managing your On Site Sewage System, Ecoteam can help. We provide design and construction services, as well as condition assessments, system operation and maintenance for all sewage treatment systems – great and small.

And remember – your sewage is a resource!





Richmond Dairies Water Park Internship

By Daniela Stott

Richmond Dairies has proposed to develop Richmond Dairies Water Park on a 26 hectare parcel of land abounding its milk processing factory in Casino, NSW. Ecoteam was approached by Richmond Dairies to produce a Feasibility/Concept Report comprising a constructed and rehabilitated wetland system to treat and reuse wastewater from the dairy to create the proposed Water Park. I was involved in the project through my University internship with Ecoteam. My main contribution was to undertake baseline environmental monitoring surveys at the Water Park to produce preliminary information on fauna, flora, soil and water quality.

The existing area already provides valuable habitat for a wide range of fauna and flora, including the threatened magpie goose (Anseranas semipalmata). Reusing treated wastewater on the Water Park will provide a more consistent water supply, which will enhance and support existing natural wetland ecosystems, and maintain constructed mudflat wetlands. The Water Park is expected to produce significant ecological, social and aesthetic benefits to the area, and provide an excellent opportunity for school groups, bird watchers and the local community to gather for educational and recreational activities.


Striped rocket frog (Litoria nasuta) at Casino

Striped rocket frog (Litoria nasuta)

Straw-necked ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)

Straw-necked ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)


Magpie geese

Magpie geese at the proposed Richmond Dairies Water Park site


Corindi Stormwater Wetland (Coffs Harbour)

Wetlands attract birds such as Brologas

Wetlands attract birds such as Brologas


A private development company needed a stormwater wetland solution for a residential subdivision. The purpose of the stormwater wetland was to treat runoff pollutants and provide protection for a sensitive SEPP 14 natural wetland located immediately downstream from the development.  

The main challenges included:

  • Variable flows and water quality
  • Lots of fine clays in the soils
  • Protection of sensitive ecosystem
  • Community concerns about mosquitoes, safety for children, flora and fauna


Keith Bolton and David Pont were engaged to design a stormwater treatment wetland and to manage community consultation. The system was designed with a number of treatment functions to address both particulate and dissolved pollutants, through the use of inlet zones, gravel beds with melaleuca trees, and incorporating open water zones.

 The use of gravel beds and dense plantings in macrophyte zones formed the core of the system, as this combination has provided excellent performance.


The wetlands have now been in operation since about 2005 and continue in excellent condition. The constructed wetlands host several attractive plant species mainly in the shallow water (public safety advantage) as well as supporting a prime habitat for birds and frogs. Brolgas have been regular visitors.

The wetland treatment system continues to produce clear water, and has become an integrated part of the local community, being frequently used as a recreational asset by walkers. A key result has been the large numbers of frogs in the wetlands, and the way in which the wetlands have grown as part of the beautiful natural environment of the site.



Byron Bay Effluent Reuse Wetland Project


Byron wetland

Byron Bay Effluent Reuse Project

Every time a toilet is flushed now in Byron Bay, the processing of its contents is ecologically sound. This positive result is the outcome of a collaboration between ecoteam ecotechnologist Dr Keith Bolton, NSW DPI Agriculture, Environment Australia, Southern Cross University and Byron Shire Council. Dr Bolton was the Scientific Coordinator and Project Manager of the 24 ha Byron Bay Effluent Reuse Wetland project, in which 750,000 paperbark trees were hand-planted to reuse and ‘polish’ Byron Bay’s sewage effluent through its final or ‘secondary treatment’ stage. As the effluent passes through the wetland, the trees pump water into the atmosphere, reducing the hydraulic load on Byron’s formerly pristine and now heavily-stressed waterways. Effluent that does make its way into the surrounding area is polished and primed, making it much safer for environmental discharge. Dr Bolton and his colleagues also demonstrated that effluent can be used to manage acid sulfate soil and to regenerate a degraded wetland. The Byron Effluent Reuse Wetland has become an important habitat for a diverse range of local wildlife, and is rapidly becoming a major tourist attraction.

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